We all knew this day would come: The everyday Blogger is dead; and we are the haunted, but rectifying, ghosts of what used to be and what has never been. Our deaths begin and end with the elevation of Twitter where everyone suddenly became a publisher — but never a writer — and great thoughts and complex ideas were forever compounded down into 140 character streams of neverending drivel.
We heartily accept our commoner Cleopatra-like demise — because we know quality content always aces thought balloons and character burps and the mainstream media mega shovel — and we find comfort in knowing the Golden Age of the Web in its prime and we will always remember the way it was, but never how it was supposed to be.
The daily need to hunt down our content thieves and kill them will likely be the one legacy task that outlives us all.
Here’s how Newsweek reported our ordinary deaths three weeks ago:
Amateur blogs, the original embodiment of Web democracy, are showing signs of decline. While professional bloggers are “a rising class,” according to Technorati, hobbyists are in retreat, and about 95 percent of blogs are launched and quickly abandoned. A recent Pew study found that blogging has withered as a pastime, with the number of 18- to 24-year-olds who identify themselves as bloggers declining by half between 2006 and 2009.
A shift to Twitter—or microblogging, as it’s called—partly accounts for these numbers. But while Twitter carries more than 50 million tweets per day, its army of keystrokers may not be as large as it seems. As many as 90 percent of tweets come from 10 percent of users, according to a 2009 Harvard study. The others are primarily “lurkers”—people who don’t contribute but track the postings of others. Between 60 and 70 percent of people who sign up for the 140-character platform quit within a month, according to a recent Nielsen report.
Leo Laporte wrote a week ago on his blog that commoner blogging isn’t really dead and that Twitter is actually an empty shell of an echo chamber. That speaking truth to power came to Leo only after he discovered Google Buzz hadn’t been updating his Twitter stream for over three weeks and nobody — including him — noticed or cared:
It makes me feel like everything I’ve posted over the past four years on Twitter, Jaiku, Friendfeed, Plurk, Pownce, and, yes, Google Buzz, has been an immense waste of time. I was shouting into a vast echo chamber where no one could hear me because they were too busy shouting themselves. All this time I’ve been pumping content into the void like some chatterbox Onan. How humiliating. How demoralizing….
I should have been posting it here all along. Had I been doing so I’d have something to show for it. A record of my life for the last few years at the very least. But I ignored my blog and ran off with the sexy, shiny microblogs. Well no more. I’m sorry for having neglected you Leoville. From now on when I post a picture of a particularly delicious sandwich I’m posting it here. When I complain that Sookie is back with Bill, you’ll hear it here first. And the show notes for my shows will go here, too.
As a ghost traipsing the earth, I will happily continue to write and publish articles in the Boles Blogs Network because therein lies the snap of private thoughts gone public and the delight of communally cracking open notions for deeper inspection. I am writing forward for the Beyond Twitter Generations yet to be born.
We are who we choose to be — and our words and ideas define us like swords into carcasses and blogging has always been the primary platform for carving formed modern social thought — but everything starts to sag and seep as social networking becomes the pressing force instead of determined, on the record, mindful contemplation that wails for ingestion and processing while eschewing the notion that anything important can ever beheld in 140 characters or less.